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Posts for: April, 2017

By Signature Smiles, LLC
April 29, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
April 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health

If you have periodontal (gum) disease, it's important for you to know its effects aren't limited to your mouth. A number of studies demonstrate gum disease can affect the rest of your body — and what may be going on elsewhere could likewise stimulate gum disease.

Here are 3 diseases or conditions that seem to share a link with gum disease.

Diabetes. This chronic disease results from the body's inability to interact properly with insulin, the hormone necessary for turning glucose (sugar) into energy, or producing enough of it. There's clear evidence that having diabetes increases your risk of gum disease and vice-versa. If you have diabetes, it's important that you keep it under control for your gum's sake as much as for your overall health.

Cardiovascular disease. Like diabetes, this group of heart and blood vessel diseases has a related characteristic with gum disease: inflammation. This natural function of the immune system limits tissue damage caused by disease or injury. But in both CVD and gum disease, inflammation can become chronic and itself cause damage. Further, some types of bacteria associated with gum disease can contribute to a higher risk of CVD. Minimizing gum disease occurrence with good oral hygiene could positively impact your risk of CVD.

Pregnancy. While certainly not a disease, pregnancy does trigger hormonal changes in the mother that in turn could elevate her risk of gum disease, particularly pregnancy gingivitis. Not only does this pose problems for the mother's teeth and gums, some studies connect gum disease to the increased possibility of early, pre-term birth. A sharper focus on dental care during pregnancy not only benefits the mother but may also be important for the health of the baby.

These aren't the only conditions that can be affected by gum disease: others like osteoporosis, respiratory disease or rheumatoid arthritis also share links with the disease. If you have any systemic condition like these, it pays to be extra vigilant in preventing and treating gum disease.

If you would like more information on periodontal (gum) disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
April 03, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

While often overlooked, the health of your teeth is highly important and people everywhere should consider dental hygiene one of their preventative dentistrytop health-related priorities. However, many people falsely believe that they should only see their dentist when something is physically wrong with their teeth. Learn about how frequently you should see your dentist and what makes preventative dentistry crucial to your oral health with Dr. Carmela LaFalce at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ.

What is preventative dentistry? 
Preventative dentistry ensures that your teeth remain healthy and free of decay-causing plaque and tartar and that your dentist can find and treat dental conditions early. Conditions like cavities or gum disease are easily treatable with minimally invasive dental procedures. However, if left untreated, these conditions can quickly develop into a nasty toothache or gingivitis, making early detection key to a fast and easy treatment.

How often should I see my dentist? 
Patients at average risk for dental issues should see their dentist at least twice a year. These routine checkups will include a dental examination and cleaning, performed by your doctor and dental hygienist. The examination ensures that there are no warning signs requiring investigation by your dentist. A professional dental cleaning will remove all the built up plaque and tartar on your teeth, preventing tooth decay and gum disease before it occurs.

Regular Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Toms River, NJ 
Your regular checkups will begin with your dentist performing a physical examination of your head, mouth, jaw, and neck. During this time, your dentist will check for the presence of cavities or other dental conditions like gum disease. If necessary, your dentist may offer an oral cancer screening, which includes a test to determine if you show any early warning signs for of condition. Finally, a dental hygienist will use specialized tools to remove the plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth, then scrub and polish each tooth to a perfect shine.

For more information on preventative dentistry, please contact Dr. Carmela LaFalce at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ. Call (732) 244-4114 to schedule your appointment with Dr. LaFalce today!

Carmela LaFalce, DMD
Dentist - Toms River
616 Washington St
Toms River, NJ 08753

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